Wet Sheep and Suicidal Chicks

Fairly quiet day on the farm. A one-day rain event is passing through. Should be nice tomorrow again, so I'm just biding my time till the morning. With rain coming down throughout the day, I left the chickens penned up, which simplified things considerably. This evening, I just restocked all the hay troughs and promised the sheep and alpacas a nice breakfast in the morning. They don't really eat soggy food, and it all just goes to waste.

The creek came up a little, but at mid-afternoon, it didn't look too bad. Though the rain is continuing, I am hoping that it just keeps flowing merrily downstream.

The sheep hung out under their tarp, and I assured them that tomorrow they could go out to the north pasture again to play. They always look so bedraggled.

The chicks in the utility room have reached the dreaded "Suicidal Ninny" stage - filling their feeders and waterers with shavings that render them useless. Under a heat lamp, mold grows faster than lightning, so dampness cannot be tolerated. Several times a day I have to clean out and refill the water, and dig out the feed in the feeders. This is an awkward stage that drags on until they have enough feathers to keep them warm outside. And at this time of year with overnight lows in the 50s, that will be longer than usual. Their little feathers are coming in, and it will be interesting to see if we can determine the breed of the "packing peanut" roosters anytime soon. One way to pick out the roosters is that the Brahma pullets have feathered feet, and the roosters have clean feet. Some of the boys look to be single combed, as well, in contrast to the Brahmas' pea combs.

Dang. Case in point - I have just returned from completely cleaning out one chick bin because the dog got into the utility room (who left the door ajar??) and knocked over one waterer in his nosy investigations. Big Sigh, with a bit of a Growl.

I'll be glad I went through all this next spring when we finally get eggs again. The adult flock has almost completely quit laying, thanks to the pox. But some good news - the very sick hen has made some recovery. Yesterday, I noticed that one side of her little face is almost better. It will be quite a while before she's ready to lay again, but I'm just glad that it looks like she'll pull through.

Tomorrow - sunshine.

I usually try to pull a life lesson from the day's events. If I had to boil it down tonight, I'd say, farming trials give us the choice of giving up or persevering and overcoming obstacles. Sometimes the obstacles are small and serve to keep our emotional and spiritual heartrates in the training range, and sometimes the obstacles are really big and it's a full-blown stress test. Today was a good solid jog, and I'd better get some rest. Who knows how fast I'll have to run tomorrow?


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